IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Federalism, Taxation, and Economic Growth


  • Hatfield, John

    (Stanford U)


We show that federalism will lead to higher economic growth. We present a model of endogenous growth where government services, funded by income and capital taxes, are a component of production. In this model a decentralized government will choose tax policy to maximize economic growth, while a centralized government will not do so. Furthermore, these conclusions hold regardless of whether the government is beholden to a median voter or is a rent-maximizing Leviathan. However, a decentralized government will under- provide a consumptive public good. Finally, we show our results are robust to imperfect capital mobility between districts and in such a model that districts with a lower total factor productivity will choose a more growth-enhancing tax policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hatfield, John, 2006. "Federalism, Taxation, and Economic Growth," Research Papers 1929, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1929

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    2. Ben Lockwood, 2002. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 313-337.
    3. Keen, Michael & Marchand, Maurice, 1997. "Fiscal competition and the pattern of public spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 33-53, October.
    4. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-1162, December.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld, 1998. "The Global Capital Market: Benefactor or Menace?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
    6. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    7. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and Corruption: Evidence from U.S. Federal Transfer Programs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 25-35, October.
    8. John Duggan & Mark Fey, 2006. "Repeated Downsian electoral competition," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 39-69, December.
    9. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
    10. Willmann, Gerald, 2003. "Why Legislators are Protectionists: The Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs," Economics Working Papers 2003-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    11. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    12. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
    13. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
    14. Rubinchik-Pessach, Anna, 2005. "Can decentralization be beneficial?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1231-1249, July.
    15. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
    16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Konrad, Kai A. & Kovenock, Dan, 2009. "Competition for FDI with vintage investment and agglomeration advantages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 230-237, November.
    2. Pierre Salmon, 2013. "Decentralization and growth: what if the cross-jurisdiction approach had met a dead end?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 87-107, June.
    3. John William Hatfield & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2008. "A Political Economy Theory of Partial Decentralization," NBER Working Papers 14628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1929. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.